Health Information Exchange Featured Article

January 10, 2012

New Michigan Health Technology Program Helps Employers Meet Demand for Workers Who Can Deal with Electronic Health Records



It seemed like such a great idea. Let’s turn all paper-based medical records into electronic ones. At least that’s what healthcare reform was supposed to accomplish. But it hasn’t been quite that easy, and along the way, terrible data breaches have also happened.

But now, to try to help employers meet the federal electronic health records (EHR) mandate, Career Quest Learning Centers announced today that the centers are introducing a new health information technology program for new workers, according to a press release at prweb.com.

Despite the increased use of EHRs, Farzad Mostashari, who was recently appointed to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information predicts that the industry could be heading toward a tough period, HealthCare IT News reports. This is because most users are now finished with the introductory phase and are embarked on development and implementation, which are much more challenging.

The news isn’t all bad: the press release reports that the federal order to streamline patient records is also creating new jobs. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 35,000 jobs nationwide will be created for employees who will work with and manage confidential patient health records,” the press release reports.

Students in Lansing, Jackson and Kalamazoo, Michigan can now enroll for the technology program, with classes starting February 1 at Career Quest campuses. According to the press release, students will finish in less than a year, and classes are offered both at night and during the the day to accommodate the needs of working adults.

The Health Information Technology program at Career Quest is a 900 hour, or 47-semester credits, program, according to the press release.  Designed to prepare students to enter a career with the skills employers are looking for, students will receive instruction in foundation computer skills, medical terminology and, on the administrative side, regulations and payer systems. Those who graduate from the program will be able to work withEHRs in hospitals, clinics, medical labs, or in any health care setting where patients are seen.

Courses will be offered in lab, lecture and work-based environments and will be provided by instructors with health care career experience.  Students will also complete a work externship, giving them a real-life health care work experience.

“Health Information Technology is one of the fastest growing programs in the field of health care right now,” Cindy Whittum, director of career services at Career Quest Learning Centers in Lansing, said in the press release.  “Career Quest Learning Centers has developed a concentrated program for students who want to get into this field now – not years from now. Our students can get in on the ground floor. It’s a great way to get ahead in this new program.”

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Deborah DiSesa Hirsch is an award-winning health and technology writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines and IBM in her 20-year career. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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